B-162525, DEC. 21, 1967

B-162525: Dec 21, 1967

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BACKGROUND RELEVANT TO THE ISSUES HE PRESENTS MAY BE SUMMARIZED AS FOLLOWS: THE BASIC MISSION OF THE NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION IS TO SUPPORT SCIENCE AND SCIENCE EDUCATION IN THE UNITED STATES. THE FOUNDATION OBTAINS REGULAR APPROPRIATIONS WHICH ARE USED PRIMARILY FOR MAKING GRANTS TO EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS IN FURTHERANCE OF ITS MISSION. OR ANY OF A RANGE OF ITEMS WHICH WILL ASSIST IN ACCOMPLISHING GRANT PURPOSES. TITLE TO EXCESS PROPERTY THUS TRANSFERRED IS USUALLY VESTED IN THE GRANTEE INSTITUTION. UNLESS THE TRANSFER IS FOR SHORT TERM UTILIZATION PURPOSES. SUCH EXCESS PROPERTY SUPPORT IS OVER AND ABOVE THE AMOUNT OF FUNDS GRANTED INITIALLY FOR THE RESEARCH PROJECT. IT IS PROPOSED TO AUGMENT FOUNDATION SUPPORTED SCIENCE EDUCATION.

B-162525, DEC. 21, 1967

TO DR. HAWORTH:

BY LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 18, 1967, YOUR DEPUTY DIRECTOR REQUESTED OUR ADVICE CONCERNING SEVERAL QUESTIONS WHICH HE RAISED IN CONNECTION WITH THE USE OF EXCESS FEDERAL PROPERTY IN NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION GRANT PROGRAMS. FROM INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THE DEPUTY DIRECTOR'S LETTER, BACKGROUND RELEVANT TO THE ISSUES HE PRESENTS MAY BE SUMMARIZED AS FOLLOWS:

THE BASIC MISSION OF THE NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION IS TO SUPPORT SCIENCE AND SCIENCE EDUCATION IN THE UNITED STATES. THE FOUNDATION OBTAINS REGULAR APPROPRIATIONS WHICH ARE USED PRIMARILY FOR MAKING GRANTS TO EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS IN FURTHERANCE OF ITS MISSION. THE GRANTS MAY PROVIDE FOR THE COSTS OF PERSONNEL, EQUIPMENT, TRAVEL, FELLOWSHIPS, CONSTRUCTION, OR ANY OF A RANGE OF ITEMS WHICH WILL ASSIST IN ACCOMPLISHING GRANT PURPOSES. THE GRANTEE INSTITUTION MAY BE PERMITTED TO USE GRANT FUNDS TO PURCHASE AND RETAIN TITLE TO PERSONAL PROPERTY NEEDED IN CONNECTION WITH EXECUTING THE RESEARCH BEING SUPPORTED.

THE FOUNDATION, FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS, HAS BEEN ACQUIRING EXCESS FEDERAL PERSONAL PROPERTY THROUGH THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION FOR TRANSFER TO DEGREE GRANTING EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS FOR USE IN CONNECTION WITH SPECIFIC RESEARCH GRANTS. TITLE TO EXCESS PROPERTY THUS TRANSFERRED IS USUALLY VESTED IN THE GRANTEE INSTITUTION, UNLESS THE TRANSFER IS FOR SHORT TERM UTILIZATION PURPOSES. SUCH EXCESS PROPERTY SUPPORT IS OVER AND ABOVE THE AMOUNT OF FUNDS GRANTED INITIALLY FOR THE RESEARCH PROJECT, AND THE UTILIZATION OF EXCESS PROPERTY IN THIS MANNER HAS BEEN INCREASING. FISCAL YEAR 1967 THE FOUNDATION OBTAINED FOR BASIC RESEARCH GRANTEES EXCESS PROPERTY HAVING AN ACQUISITION VALUE OF $3,135,922.

THE DEPUTY DIRECTOR STATES THAT THE FOUNDATION HAS FOUND THAT PROVIDING EXCESS PROPERTY IN CONNECTION WITH SPECIFIC RESEARCH GRANTS HAS BEEN BENEFICIAL IN TERMS OF ADDED RESEARCH COVERED OR SHORTENING OF REQUIRED RESEARCH TIME TO COMPLETE AN INITIALLY CONTEMPLATED PROJECT. HE ADDS THE BELIEF THAT UTILIZATION OF EXCESS PROPERTY IN CONNECTION WITH OTHER FOUNDATION PROGRAMS WOULD PROVE EQUALLY VALUABLE, AS, FOR EXAMPLE, THE MAKING AVAILABLE OF EXCESS ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT FOR USE IN THE TEACHING OF SCIENCE BEING A BOON TO SCIENCE EDUCATION AT ALL LEVELS--PARTICULARLY TO THOSE INSTITUTIONS WITH LITTLE OR NO RESEARCH ACTIVITIES.

THE FOUNDATION NOW PROPOSES TO EXPAND ITS UTILIZATION OF EXCESS PROPERTY BEYOND RESEARCH SUPPORT ACTIVITIES. IN PARTICULAR, IT IS PROPOSED TO AUGMENT FOUNDATION SUPPORTED SCIENCE EDUCATION, SCIENCE FACILITIES, AND INSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS WITH GRANTS OF EXCESS PROPERTY AND TO UTILIZE EXCESS PROPERTY IN THE SAME MANNER IN CONNECTION WITH GRANTS TO NONPROFIT NON-EDUCATIONAL BASIC RESEARCH ORGANIZATIONS. BECAUSE OF THE EXTENSIVE CHANGES CONTEMPLATED, OUR GUIDANCE IS SOLICITED WITH RESPECT TO THE FOLLOWING THREE QUESTIONS:

"1. DOES GAO CONFIRM THE PRESENT PRACTICE OF NSF IN GRANTING EXCESS PERSONAL PROPERTY IN CONNECTION WITH ITS SUPPORT OF BASIC RESEARCH? WHILE THERE WOULD APPEAR TO BE NO QUESTION AS TO THE FOUNDATION'S AUTHORITY TO GRANT EXCESS PERSONAL PROPERTY, THE QUESTION IS RAISED BECAUSE SUCH GRANTS CANNOT READILY BE TIED TO REDUCTIONS IN THE COST OF GRANTS.

"2. MAY THE FOUNDATION GRANT EXCESS PROPERTY IN SUPPORT OF NSF SCIENCE FACILITIES GRANTS, INSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT GRANTS, AND SCIENCE EDUCATION AND SCIENCE TRAINING GRANTS?

"3. MAY THE FOUNDATION MAKE GRANTS OF EXCESS PERSONAL PROPERTY TO OTHER NONPROFIT SCIENCE INSTITUTIONS IN SUPPORT OF RESEARCH AS WELL AS TO COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES?

SECTION 1870 (C) OF TITLE 42, U.S.C. AUTHORIZES THE FOUNDATION "TO ACQUIRE BY PURCHASE, LEASE, LOAN, GIFT, OR CONDEMNATION, AND TO HOLD AND DISPOSE OF BY GRANT, SALE, LEASE, OR LOAN, REAL AND PERSONAL PROPERTY OF ALL KINDS * * *.' SECTIONS 1862 (A) AND 1870 (C) OF TITLE 42 PROVIDE BROAD AUTHORITY FOR THE FOUNDATION TO MAKE GRANTS INCLUDING GRANTS TO NONPROFIT SCIENCE INSTITUTIONS. IN LIGHT OF THESE AUTHORITIES AND THOSE RELATING TO THE TRANSFER OF EXCESS PERSONAL PROPERTY SET FORTH IN THE FEDERAL PROPERTY AND ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED, WE WOULD ANSWER EACH QUESTION RAISED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.

HOWEVER, IN CONCLUDING AFFIRMATIVELY TO THE QUESTIONS RAISED, WE WOULD EMPHASIZE THAT WE RELY UPON IT BEING UNDERSTOOD, AS SUGGESTED BY THE QUESTIONS, THAT GRANTS OF EXCESS PROPERTY ARE TO BE MADE GENERALLY ONLY BY WAY OF ADDITIONAL SUPPORT OF SPECIFIC GRANTS FOR PROJECTS, PROGRAMS, OR OTHER PURPOSES WHICH ARE BEING FINANCED DIRECTLY WITH FUNDS APPROPRIATED TO THE FOUNDATION. WHERE EXCESS PROPERTY IS UTILIZED TO SUPPLEMENT GRANTS OTHERWISE MADE, IT SEEMS REASONABLE TO ACKNOWLEDGE A BONA FIDE NEED OF THE FOUNDATION SUCH AS WOULD SUPPORT TRANSFER OF THE EXCESS PROPERTY FROM OTHER AGENCIES TO THE FOUNDATION IN THE FIRST INSTANCE.

IN LIGHT OF THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE ADMINISTRATOR OF GENERAL SERVICES IN CONNECTION WITH THE UTILIZATION OF EXCESS PROPERTY, WE ARE SENDING HIM A COPY OF THIS DECISION. OUR CONCLUSIONS ARE NOT INTENDED TO PRECLUDE THE ADMINISTRATOR FROM PLACING FURTHER LIMITATIONS UPON THE USE OF EXCESS PROPERTY IN NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION PROGRAMS SHOULD HE DEEM ADDITIONAL LIMITATIONS DESIRABLE.